Appointment to view: On this day 1986 - Richard Branson tops Atlantic speed record
The 1980s was a time of huge expansion for the Virgin brand, with founder Richard Branson becoming an aspirational personality who has proven an integral part of the brand's development.
Richard Branson: Virgin boss aboard the record-breaking Virgin Atlantic Challenger
The Virgin Group corporate website estimates that global branded revenues in 2009 exceeded £11.5bn. The group owns more than 300 companies world wide, with its brand name licensed out to Virgin Media, which has reported revenues of £3.8bn.
Virgin Media alone spends £30m on advertising each year [Source: Marketing’s top 100 advertisers 2011], while Virgin Atlantic spent a reported £10m on its brand refresh campaign last year.
Branson launched Virgin Atlantic in 1984 and still owns a majority 51% stake, with Singapore Airlines owning the remaining 49%.
Smashing the world record for crossing the Atlantic was the beginning of a string of record attempts by Branson.
He completed his record-breaking journey in a 72-ft powerboat, named the Virgin Atlantic Challenger. The voyage took more than three days, but saw Branson complete the challenge more than two hours faster than the previous record holder, the SS United States, which had at that time, held the title since 1952.
Branson went on to become the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot air balloon, a year later. The Virgin Atlantic Flyer was the largest hot air balloon built, measuring in at 2,300,000 cubic feet (65,000 m3).
His latest aspirational venture is space travel, with Virgin Galactic claiming to be "the world's first spaceline".
Virgin Atlantic marked its 25th anniversary with an ad campaign that flashed back to the 1980s. Its 'still red hot' campaign was followed by a 'rock star' campaign, which promised customers would be treated like a rock star as part of its standard service.
Virgin brand ad round-up
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